By Ken Boone:
I'm taking a break from cleaning out my studio space. It's long overdue, and I'm getting tired of stepping over boxes, loose papers and microphone cables. If all goes well, I'll be done with this in a couple of weeks.
Among the papers I found on the floor was a hand written list of blog posts I'd written and published through May 27, 2019. I recalled how high my spirit soared during that period. It was then that I came up with Plan A for the last 30 years of my life.
I was going to build my media "empire" by creating and producing 10 different podcast shows. I was going to write and/or edit a number of interesting blogs. And I was going to cut back on the number of outside clients I would service.
To do all of that takes money, and I had a good idea where I would get it. I was eight months away from collecting a pension from my years at the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche. I was also eight months away from collecting my Social Security benefits as an early retiree. I called it my Plan A.
I knew there would be challenges along the way. Celia was planning to have replacement surgery on both her hips. The first one was scheduled for July, with the second coming in November. We knew it was ambitious, but the surgeon she wanted was retiring at the end of the year and moving to Florida. Hence the tight turnaround.
While the first surgery went without a hitch, I started showing symptoms of what was later diagnosed as congestive heart failure accompanied by uncontrolled high blood pressure. I also found out that my A1C I was two ticks south of a diagnosis of diabetes! That put the kibosh on Plan A.
After a pretty scary September, that included a stay in the cardiac care unit, I was released back into the wild with multiple prescriptions, a new diet, and a new outlook on life and faith. Moving to the top of the list was simply staying alive. So, I tabled the podcasts and blog posts and concentrated on following my doctors' orders. I called it Plan B.
It was New Years Day 2020, and I was feeling great! I regained the pep in my step. In a few days, I was going to return to my doctors for follow ups. I knew they were going to be impressed with the progress I made. They ordered more tests, which is standard. The results were consistent with how I was feeling. It was a wonderful time to be me.
I was given the green light to resume all my normal activities, other than the poor diet. I still had to take 11 pills a day, but the good news it that there were no side effects from any of the medications. In other words, I was free to go to work on Plan C.
Returning to my normal activities, I felt as though I hadn't missed a step. I was cranking out podcast episodes, blog posts, and client deliverables. I was effortlessly climbing the stairs in my house. I was greeted by my friends at Publix who kept telling me how good I looked.
In the eight months since I laid out my Plan A, the trajectory of my life had changed multiple times. The old Ken would have stressed out over the uncertainty. The new Ken had found his faith. The new Ken actually believed in miracles.
So when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, my ears perked up. When I found out that, because of my age and underlying health issues, I was deemed high risk, I was afraid. Some of my best friends also fell into high risk groups. And a couple of them lived alone.
I worried about getting sick. Because one of my clients was a nonprofit whose funding came primarily through grants, I had a fear of financial insecurity. Because a lot of my friends were creative freelancers, I worried about them losing business. I did a lot of worrying.
Then I remembered that I can only control the things that are within my hula hoop. Although I never left the house without a mask and gloves, I didn't make unnecessary trips out of the house. As for my nonprofit client, I prayed that their funding wouldn't dry up so they could continue their work. As for my freelancing friends, I could use my skills as a blogger and podcaster to get their stories out to the masses.
There's still the matter of financial security. Well, a quick peek at the calendar reminded me that I turned age 62 back in January! That means that I'm eligible to draw my pension as well as get early retirement Social Security benefits. That also means that I'm moving on to Plan D. Wait a minute. That sounds a lot like Plan A to me!
But wait... there's more!
About the Author
As owner of the Descant Music & Media Group, Ken is a creator and producer of several podcast shows. He is also a music producer, as well as a writer and an accountant for small businesses and nonprofits.